PPP supports call for end to war on Palestine

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Off to a brisk start: Leading yesterday’s picketing exercise outside the US Embassy are, from left, RPA General Secretary, Mr Dharamkumar Seeraj; Executive Secretary of the People’s Progressive Party, Mr Zulficar Mustapha; and former Local Government Minister, Mr Harripersaud Nokta (Photos by Sonell Nelson)

–urges the US to use influence to stop the killings

THE People’s Progressive Party yesterday led a picketing exercise outside the United States Embassy to denounce the current support Israel is receiving from the US in the Israeli/Palestinian war and to join the millions of voices across the world to bring an end to the violation of human rights by Israel. The protest which saw representatives from the ruling PPP, was supported by members of the Guyana Agricultural Workers Union (GAWU) and the Guyana Rice Producers Association (RPA) who together numbered over a hundred persons.

Chants leading the procession varied from “Stop bombing schools” to “Stop killing innocent children and women” as the group in orderly formation marched up and down Duke Street, Kingston, with their placards.
According to PPP Executive Secretary, Zulficar Mustapha, the ruling party is denouncing the current actions of the Israeli military on the people of Palestine. He said the party hopes that the US can use its influence to

Outside the US Embassy yesterday. Their choice of words says it all
Outside the US Embassy yesterday. Their choice of words says it all

assist in bringing an end to the war because the assistance given to Israel, coming from the US, is being used to kill innocent Palestinians. “The PPP is denouncing it and we are in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Palestine,” he reiterated.
Echoing the sentiments of Mustapha was President of GAWU, Komal Chand who supported the call for an end to the Israeli/Palestinian war, stressing that the US is supporting the Israeli regime.
Chand noted that the US is using some US$8.5M per day to support the Israeli military forces and so he believes they should be picketed and made to answer for what is going on in Gaza. “They have over the weeks destroyed school buildings, homes, hundreds of children, women and others and it is a terrible massacre” the GAWU president emphasized. As such, he joined the many calls for “lasting peace” and “respect of the people’s rights for their homeland.”
Commenting on whether he thinks the picketing protest would influence the US or bring an end to the current situation, Chand explained that it will add to the millions of voices across the world, calling for an end to this war.
“They have to keep pressure like this to bring supporting countries in the European Union to understand that they (Israel) have to respect the people’s rights to have a government of their own, and to live peacefully,” he contended.
General-Secretary of the Guyana Rice Producers’ Association, Mr. Dharamkumar Seeraj also voiced his concern noting that while the RPA stands in solidarity with the PPP, they want to ensure that the US who is considered a “superpower”, uses their influence to call on Israel to know that basic human rights are being violated with the killing of innocent children.
An escalation of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict began in June 7, 2014, following a series of events, including the collapse of American-sponsored peace talks, the attempts by rival Palestinian factions to form a coalition government, the alleged kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teenagers, the subsequent kidnapping and murder of a Palestinian teenager, and increased rocket attacks on Israel by Hamas militants.
However, as a 72-hour cease-fire in the war between Israel and Hamas (the militant arm of the Palestinians) appeared to be holding even as the Palestinian death toll went up until yesterday had climbed to at least 1,900 people with more than 9,000 injured and wounded, a vast majority being civilians. These statistics was released by the Gaza Health Ministry who also recorded that almost half of all medical institutes have also been severely damaged or destroyed. As a result, up until Monday, Gaza’s dead children are kept in ice cream freezers while the United Nations report revealed that half a million are now homeless, medical supplies are running out and morgues are overflowing.
According to the Congressional Research Service’s report “U.S. Foreign Aid to Israel,” written by Jeremy M. Sharp, Specialist in Middle Eastern Affairs, dated April 11, 2014, the Obama Administration gave $3.1 billion in Foreign Military Financing (FMF) for Israel for the Fiscal Year 2014. In addition, the U.S contributed $504 million to the joint U.S.-Israel Missile Defense Program during FY 2014.
Added to that, last Friday, US Congress approved $225 million in emergency funding for Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system, sending the measure to President Barack Obama to be signed into law.  The House vote was 395 to 8.
Saturday last also saw thousands of people rallying in front of the White House to protest against the United States’ unwavering support for Israel as the regime presses on with its bloody military campaign in the Gaza Strip. The demonstration drew more than 30,000 protesters from across the country to the streets around the White House and downtown Washington.
Yesterday’s picketing exercise in Georgetown, however, didn’t last very long since it was called to an end after consultations with those leading the exercise. Approaching ‘A’ Division Commander Clifton Hicken who appeared on the scene to question whether the Police Force had objected to the protest or whether any law was broken, Hicken shouted in a hostile manner “Listen to me, listen to me… do you know who I am? Don’t ask me anything, you have to ask them why they left.”
However, the Commander’s hostility did not end there as he later remarked before he departed: “Those young reporters have no ethics… [he] come shoving things down my throat, I should lock his ass up.” The reporter however did not demand an answer nor did he have a recorder in his possession at the time when Hicken was asked the question.

(By Ravin Singh)